About 32% of Americans have a household budget. Having a budget it an amazing start, but it is not enough. You have to know how to follow it. Last week I discussed the steps that you need to follow to develop a budget for the holiday season. This week I want to share 5 strategies to help you stick to the budget that you created last week.
- Understand what you want to buy for each person on your list, and shop for only that. By understanding what you want to buy ahead of time, you will reduce the time spent in stores which also reduces the likelihood that you will buy something extra for yourself. Research, compare pricing, and read customer reviews so you know that you are getting the best deal possible. Two great resources to help you with this research you are (1) the Red Laser app and (2) the website www.pricegrabber.com.
- Temporarily block sale notifications to stores where you do not need to buy gifts. Sale notifications from companies where you plan to shop are good, because you will receive sale notifications, coupon codes, and free shipping deals. However, if you are not planning on gift shopping there, you can fall into the “impulsive shopping” trap. Unsubscribing is easy. If you have ever scrolled down to the bottom of an auto-generated email, there is always a hyperlink to “unsubscribe.” Sometimes the frequency and the urgency of the emails can distract even the most disciplined shopper, and the best way to avoid temptation is to eliminate it. Don’t worry, because you can re-subscribe later.
- Shop Online Using Online Coupon Codes. There are multiple benefits of online shopping. You can save time, avoid the lines, and save money on gas. When you shop online, before you checkout, do a quick Google search for the name of the store and “online coupon codes.” There are many sites dedicated to posting discount codes. My favorite site is www.retailmenot.com because that provides the option for users to rate their success when using the coupons. I also like www.couponcabin.com because they have a good selection of retailers and coupon codes. You will find most of your major retailers on these sites, and there are many times where I have used coupons with anywhere from 10% – 20% off of my order and received free shipping. Also, try to only shop on sites that offer free shipping. The $7 per order savings adds up!
- Use gift cards or points that you already have and were waiting to use. If you have unused gift cards or points (credit card, hotel, airline, etc.), you can save cash by using the points to buy gifts. Also, if you are planning to travel over the holidays, check your points to see if you have enough to qualify for free or discounted airfare, hotel stays, or rental car bookings.
- Leverage ability to generate points. Many banks offer deals if you purchase online which will allow you to earn points by shopping online through their partner. This allows you to earn points without having to use a credit card. Also, many grocery stores offer fuel points for every dollar that you spend. For example, if you buy a gift card (i.e. Best Buy, Nordstrom, etc.) at Kroger, you can earn up to 4X fuel points. Therefore, you can leverage your gift buying to help save money at the pump.
Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, and the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal). FNPhenomenal helps women to break the vicious cycle of making money, but not keeping it. FNPhenomenal provides education about money management, empowers women to take control of their lives, develop a healthier relationship with money, and pursue being phenomenal.
Visit Aisha online at www.FNPhenomenal.com
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